VENZA® strengthens Melissa Strong Fund through Brew-B-Que 2015: CURE Childhood Cancer
(Atlanta, GA – November 9th, 2015) “It’s not the quantity of years of life that matter, but the quality of life and impact you make on the world.” This sentence serves as the motto of the Melissa Strong Fund. It was also the rallying call for the Venza Group and their community of friends and business partners who worked together in order to make their 8th annual charity event a resounding success.
CURE Childhood Cancer’s Melissa Strong Fund was chosen as this year’s beneficiary by the Venza Group given Melissa’s tremendous love for life which served as an inspiration to so many. Melissa’s family’s mission is clear: to fight for other children like Melissa. Thus, the Melissa Strong Fund was created.
In addition to learning how CURE Childhood Cancer promotes cutting-edge research to battle childhood cancer, attendees heard directly from Melissa’s parents how the organization supports families. Venza Group President/CEO, Jeff Venza, said, “from the moment our team learned about the work CURE Childhood Cancer does and, specifically, about the Melissa Strong Fund, we were committed to make the night a success.”
The event took place at Wild Heaven Craft Beers, one of Decatur’s hottest craft breweries and producers of the popular Emergency Drinking Beer. Their motto is “Serve Your Neighbor” and they did just that. Guests sampled beers such as Autumn Defense, Let There Be Light, Ode to Mercy, as well as many others. The delicious BBQ was donated and catered by Atlanta’s very own 2 Boy’s BBQ. This year’s musical contribution was made by Brazilian songstress Fernanda Noronha backed by Atlanta’s top world music ensemble, Mes Amis.
As with years past, the Venza Group has a long list of people and organizations to thank for making this year’s event happen. Thanks go out to Genesee General, SunTrust, HeritageBank, Hospitality Upgrade Magazine, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, CMIT Solutions, Centrada Solutions, Carroll & Company CPAs, Newmarket International, Insperity, Reliable Heating and Air, Security Validation, Troutman Sanders LLP, Provare Technologies, INFOR, Interactive Rhythm, Small Business Access Partners (SBAP), White Dog Studios, Peachtree Tents & Events, Jill Perry Voiceovers, and HER Consulting.
Through sponsorships, personal donations and participation in the event, Brew-B-Que 2015: CURE Childhood Cancer raised $16,856.
About the Melissa Strong Fund
From the moment Melissa was born, she had a tremendous love for life. Armed with a contagious smile – always dancing and singing – Melissa offered more inspiration in her three short years on this earth than most do in their entire lives.
After being diagnosed with AML when she was only two years old, Melissa’s family was in a state of shock. Their daughter was happy, healthy, and there was no history of cancer in their family. “How could this happen to us” they asked. A normal family, life was good, and now they are in for the fight of their lives.
Melissa immediately began five rounds of intense chemotherapy. Doctors told her family that Melissa would most likely remain in bed, nauseated, unable to move for weeks. Her family was prepared for the worst. But not Melissa! Time after time, Melissa would receive a dose of very serious chemotherapy and five minutes later would be atop her bike, riding through the hallways of the hospital, singing and dancing. She wasn’t worried one bit! From playing in the playroom with other kids with cancer to playing with therapy dogs to playing Bingo with her nurses, Melissa loved life. But after initially being cleared, Melissa relapsed. And required a bone marrow transplant. As doctors begin to treat the relapsed leukemia, her family received heartbreaking news. Melissa’s leukemia was unresponsive to chemotherapy.
Despite Melissa’s hardships, even in spite of hospital treatments and intense chemotherapy and pain, she never stopped smiling. Never stopped dancing. And while Melissa passed peacefully in her parents’ arms, one year after her diagnosis, they believe her life served a much larger purpose. Anyone who came in contact with Melissa learned an important life lesson: life is temporary. It’s not the quantity of years of life that matter, but the quality of life and impact you make on the world. That’s why Melissa’s family has set out on a mission: to fight for other children like Melissa.
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